In a marathon meeting, the Gila County (Ariz.) Planning and Zoning Commission rejected a zoning change in Pine to make way for an RV park on a 2 1/2-acre lot owned by Robert Verheyen and J Pak, the Payson Roundup reported.

Upset Pine residents jammed the small hearing room and spilled out into the hall.

The proposal dominated the three-hour meeting. The applicants pleaded for the zone change and neighbors David and Barbara Walls opposed the plan at length.

Planning Director Bob Gould told the commission the existence of another RV/mobile home park in the area means the applicant’s request could be an extension of an already-allowed use. However, the existing RV park was built before the county imposed the residential zoning on the area.

Some residents politely supported the proposal. John Howe spoke in support of the applicants. “It’s about what’s good for the community, not a few neighbors. The economic impact would be good for Pine,” he said.

However, in the course of the hearing comments on both sides sometimes bordered on insults.

Pak said even though Pine was a great small town, she hoped that didn’t mean it was “small-minded.”

The two sides belittled the majority of RV and mobile home parks in the Pine area, both directly and indirectly.

Pak told the commission she and Verheyen have been in the area for 10 years, living in Pine six months out of the year and have already worked to help the economic development of the community.

“We’re involved in the community and want to make it better,” she said.

She said they hope to draw upscale and experienced RV users. They would not allow permanent residences, however guests would have to stay at least two nights at a time.

“There will be a lot of cement (pads) and gravel, so it will be firewise,” Pak said.

The commission pointed out it would cost more than $1 million to develop the RV park.

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